After many of them sent “thoughts and prayers” toward the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando last week, Senate Republicans cast enough votes against a group of gun safety bills on Monday — including two proposals from within their own party — to prevent them from moving forward.
The move, while perhaps not surprising, still angered many Twitter users who supported the measures, which included expanded background checks and a ban on gun sales to individuals on terrorism watch lists.
There’s more at Raw Story.
In the meantime, the GOP has made clear what they do think will help: more surveillance. Yep, let’s erode the rights of citizens a bit more, it will be okay!
enate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information.
The move, made via an amendment to a criminal justice appropriations bill, is an effort by Senate Republicans to respond to last week’s mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub after a series of measures to restrict guns offered by both parties failed on Monday.
“In the wake of the tragic massacre in Orlando, it is important our law enforcement have the tools they need to conduct counterterrorism investigations,” Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican and sponsor of the amendment, said in a statement.
The bill is also supported by Republican Senators John Cornyn, Jeff Sessions and Richard Burr, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Privacy advocates denounced the effort, saying it seeks to exploit a mass shooting in order to expand the government’s digital spying powers.
The amendment would broaden the FBI’s authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails’ senders and recipients.
The amendment filed Monday would also make permanent a provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on “lone wolf” suspects who do not have confirmed ties to a foreign terrorist group. That provision, which the Justice Department said last year had never been used, is currently set to expire in December 2019.